can i install a cd/ dvd burner? i have a dell desk top. want to burn dvds. what do i need?

i have a few parts. looking to install a burner so i can make dvds. need help. i know nothing about this.

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MrThingys8 years ago
There are many internal sata DVD roms on the market today. I use one on both my desktop and laptop. The External USB DVD burner would be the easiest and less painful upgrade and they are relatively cheap these days. The drives usually come with burning software but, depending on your needs, you may need to google a bit.
iPodGuy8 years ago
frollard's got it. It's easy. You'll be fine!
frollard8 years ago
This is actually PAINFULLY EASY if you know what to look for:

if you're replacing the existing cd/dvd drive, it's a snap!

Turn off and unplug the computer. Work on a solid table - preferably grounded. Before beginning, touch something metal like a sink, while touching the computer. This will drain your static electricity.

Open the case: There may be 3-6 screws holding it shut, or just a lock handle. Don't force anything!

There are 2, possibly 3 cables that go to a dvd drive:

Once opened, take a look around. You should see a (usually) fat flat grey cable going from the motherboard to the existing cd/dvd/whatever. This is called an IDE cable. There may also be another similar cable going to a hard disk drive(s). Another cable going to the drive is a POWER cable - often referred to as a molex connector. They can be tricky, but they just unplug. The third optional cable is an audio cable that goes directly to the sound card. This allows the drive to do the audio conversion - but I haven't used one in a long time since software takes care of that.

Now the old drive is unplugged, you need to unscrew it. It may be screwed in on one side, both sides (preferably), or just clipped in (who knows what dell does!). It will be a relatively fine philips head screwdriver you need. Keep these screws.

Depending on your case, you may need to remove the front bezel/cover to extract the drive. You may not. It depends. Try to push the drive out from the back and see if it snags. If it comes out - yay! If not, find the latches or screws that hold the front of the case on. They may be tricky to spot. Don't force anything!

With the drive removed - take a look at the back where the connections go. There will be a set of 10 pins, 2 rows of 5. They may or may not have a jumper on them. If they do, check on the label of the drive to see what that jumper means
it can mean 'master-MS' 'slave-SL' or 'Cable Select-CS'.
If there is no jumper...ignore this part.
Find on the new drive where the jumper needs to go to match the old settings, be it MS, SL, or CS. It's not the same position on all drives. Some have no jumper = master...some have no jumper = cs. Check the documentation.

ALMOST THERE!

Reverse the process!!!

Slide the new drive in, and attach with at least 2 screws.

Attach whichever cable is furthest into the case - probably the IDE ribbon cable. It's notched and can only go in one way these days.
Next the other 1 or 2 - audio and power. Again these are keyed so they only fit in one direciton.

Close it up, and boot it up! Good luck!

It's really no different than replacing a dishwasher, or other 'bolted down' appliance. unplug, remove, replace, replug!
Depending on the Dell desktop, some are small form factor models -the slim units, that use laptop type slim DVD/CD drives. The connector is different and you need to dissect the system to reuse its special mounting brackets. There's that printed circuit flex connector that is easily torn out of the socket if you are not careful. And you would now even need to consider that there is also SATA, PATA in addition to the IDE standards. It's like this with cars, you can hot rod the old ones but new ones are a bear.
**addendum - I'm guessing based on the age of the system (not having a burner built in) that its not a smaller model...
I've never seen a sata dvd drive - only hdds... But you bring up a valid point - if its a proprietary 'small form factor' machine...beware! **if thats the case, get an external usb dvd burner.